Soca Warriors marching on

Shaun Fuentes
Date Published: 
Trinidad Guardian

Whether or not Manchester United striker Dwight Yorke or Hibernian's Russell Latapy return to the Trinidad and Tobago football team FIFA vice-president Jack Warner is optimistic that the Soca Warriors will qualify for their first World Cup finals in 2002.

Warner was speaking yesterday from Las Vegas, USA where he is viewing the Concacaf Club Championship and holding meetings about FIFA and T&T football.

The Football Confederation (formerly Concacaf) president also revealed that Panama have agreed to host T&T on October 12. This will replace the match with Jamaica which had been scheduled for October 10 before being called off by the JFF who cited poor response from fans.

Team manager Richard Braithwaite yesterday thanked Warner for his efforts in securing a replacement for Jamaica.

Warner has also already secured the services of seven foreign-based players including Anthony Rougier (Port Vale), Marvin Andrews (Raith Rovers), Jerren Nixon (FC Zurich) Stern John, Ansil Elcock (Columbus Crew), Brent Sancho (Mapo 47) and Angus Eve (Chester City).

Mickey Trotman may also be available after returning from a trial in Germany.

Yorke and Latapy failed to show for T&T's match against Colombia in Miami last month. Then a lack of communication with the TTFF led to both players being deemed unfit for consideration for future selection.

Warner yesterday said that he could not place a time frame on the resolution of the dispute with the the high-profiled players.

"I do not expect anything. The Trinidad and Tobago team will play with the players who want to play for the country and who are committed and dedicated. We shall succeed with or without those two players," he said.

"I think that Jamaica's excuse is laughable to the extreme when you consider they are now seeking and begging to get a team (El Salvador) ranked 92nd in the world to replace T&T," said Warner about the Jamaican cancellation of the match against T&T.

"We have already confirmed matches against Paraguay, Bolivia, Guatemala and Honduras and that should mark our remainder of games for the balance of the year and all those matches shall be played outside of Trinidad and Tobago," he said.

The advisor to the TTFF said that he will be involved in a meeting today to arrange tours to Saudi Arabia and Morocco which may take place later this year or in early 2000.